Dan Walsh, Verging On The Perpendicular - album review
Stafford pluckster Dan Walsh is back. The banjo maestro mixes his energetic style with a bit of history this time, delving into his influences of traditional Irish and Scottish folk.
It's very personal - much of what's on offer is just Dan and his banjo, although his Urban Folk Quartet bandmate Tom Chapman does pop up on a couple of tracks to lend a hand.
His 'claw hammer' style - something that sounds far more aggressive than it is - has won him fans the world over, and his delving back into his past on this record displays a confidence to be different and in your tastes that comes with praise.
We have a mixture of vocal and instrumental material. The latter can often be where the gems lie. The energetic and bustling 7/8s (Newlyn Wind/Nearly Home) leap from anticipation to excitement as Dan drags us along on a real cart ride of an adventure through high-pitched peaks of sound.
There is also a lot of fun to be had with the eclectic and fast-paced Banish Set (Banish Misfortune/Washington's March/Small Halls/Summer Rain). This is where his talent really shines through at a ferocious speed that will leave you with musicianship envy.
But he can spin a tale too. Going To The USA vents his frustration at the American visa system and its layers. "How much danger can a guy with just a banjo bring?" Dan asks, and we chuckle along as he describes the forms, interviews and hoops you have to jump through just to play a handful of shows.
It's a good mix, and while some of the material sounds a tad cheesy and utopian - The Suilin carries some really cringe-worthy lines - the majority sits nicely.
As mentioned, the instrumentals in particular showcase his talent and let him rip through his ability like a banjo-clad Hulk laying waste to evil forces of silence.
While the genre might still not be particularly mainstream we wish Dan more success on the back of another solid record. Every local success story is a boon, no matter what field it is in.
Dan Walsh is playing a host of local dates this year. He can be caught at:
April 27 - Katie Fitzgerald's, Stourbridge
May 9 - Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford
May 10 - The Hive, Shrewsbury
May 12 - Town Hall, Birmingham
July 7 - Hales Club, Market Drayton
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